Borobudur, The World’s Largest Buddhist Temple

Yesterday we visited Borobudur, a Buddhist temple completed in the early 9th century. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is the most visited site in Indonesia.

It's difficult to capture the enormity of Borobudur in a single photograph

It’s difficult to capture the enormity of Borobudur in a single photograph

The whole structure consists of six square levels at the bottom and three circular levels at the top.

This expression says "hurry up, Mommy!"

This expression says “hurry up, Mommy!”

The square levels are decorated with bas relief panels on the walls, which altogether are considered the largest collection of Buddhist reliefs in the world.

A detail of one of the relief carvings

A detail of one of the relief carvings

The three circular levels at the top have 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated, bell-shaped stupas.

The weather was perfect for a clear view of the surrounding mountains

The weather was perfect for a clear view of the surrounding mountains

Hugo enjoyed climbing up all the stairs as fast as he could.

"Big steps for little feet."

“Big steps for little feet.”

And climbing around all the stupas at the top.

Going around the stupas was a good way to hide from all the people who wanted to take his picture

Going around the stupas was a good way to hide from all the people who wanted to take his picture

He was less interested in taking selfies with me.

I'm still perfecting my "sweaty and glistening with sunscreen" look

I’m still perfecting my “sweaty and glistening with sunscreen” look

My suggestions for visiting Borobudur with a toddler:

1. Go early in the morning. It’s a two hour drive from Yogyakarta and you don’t want to be climbing in the heat of the day.

2. Carry a backpack with water, extra sunscreen, etc., so that your hands are free to help out the little ones on steep stairs. Hugo was excited to climb up but balked when he saw how steep it was going down. I had to carry him most of the way. But there are sturdy hand rails so don’t worry!

3. There are a LOT of vendors and little restaurants at the bottom. Take some time to sit and enjoy a kelapa muda and some gado gado.

After a morning climbing stairs under the hot sun, your kiddo is sure to enjoy a long nap on the way home!

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